Although more prominent features like Night Shift and a few new Quick Actions are getting the spotlight with the launch of iOS 9.3, one new lesser-known update is definitely worth checking out. In iOS 9.3, Apple has improved the functionality of its first-party Notes app with the ability to add password or Touch ID security for individual notes.

The feature allows users to prevent access to sensitive information on a case-by-case basis (some notes, like a shopping list, might not be as high risk), just in case someone gets past the lock screen security of the iPhone itself. With some people even using Notes to store passwords for various sites and services, Apple's security-enhanced update is well worth checking out.

Creating a Password in Notes on iOS

The steps needed to set up a password or Touch ID for your Notes are straight-forward and should only take a few moments to complete.

iPhone Notes Touch ID How To

  1. Navigate to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down to "Notes" and tap on it.
  3. Midway down the screen will be a "Password" option. Tap on it.
  4. If this is your first time setting it up, a menu will immediately appear asking to set up the new password.
  5. Fill out the fields requiring the Notes password (remember that something other than your iPhone passcode will be preferable), and then verify the password in the next field.
  6. Provide a hint to the password you entered to ensure that if you ever forget it you can be guided back through guessing.
  7. In the same menu, toggle on "Use Touch ID."
  8. Tap "Done" in the top right corner to confirm your selections.

To test out the new password and Touch ID features of Notes, head over to the Notes app on your iPhone or iPad. There are just a few more steps to go through to fully protect a note of your choice from prying eyes.

How To Touch ID Notes 2

  1. Once inside Notes, if you've already got a particular note in mind to protect, skip to the next step. Otherwise, tap on the bottom right of the app to create a new Note, and enter any private information you wish to hide.
  2. Inside the note, tap on the top right of the screen to bring up the share menu. Tap the "Lock Note" option in the bottom row.
  3. If you haven't entered the Notes password recently, the app will ask for the password or Touch ID fingerprint you created in the Settings menu. Comply by providing either measure of security. If no password or fingerprint is required, the lock will be added automatically.
  4. This adds a lock to the note, but doesn't actually lock it yet. To do that, click on the new unlocked button on the top right of the screen.
  5. The note should now be hidden with a simple "This note is locked" message.
  6. To view the locked note again, simply tap "View Note" and place your finger on the Home Button to use Touch ID, or enter your password.

Using a Password in the OS X Notes App

Alongside the iOS 9.3 update, Apple's OS X 10.11.4 introduces similar support for password-protected Notes for the company's desktop operating system. The password setup process carries over from the iOS installation, but you'll have to ensure that Notes are syncing with iCloud to properly use the password feature on a Mac.

  1. Navigate to System Preferences.
  2. Click on iCloud.
  3. Scroll until you see "Notes" and make sure the box is checked.

From here, any changes made to your Notes on iOS -- from their content to the locked/unlocked status -- should be reflected on the Mac. Of course, Apple's desktops and laptops don't have Touch ID, so if you want to unlock a Note away from your iPhone, you'll have to enter the password into the app.

Notes Mac App Password
At any time you can change or turn off the password in Notes by revisiting the Settings iOS app, navigating back through the Notes, then Password submenus, and following either the "Change Password" or "Reset Password" buttons.

There are plenty of other neat features that debuted in both iOS 9.3 and OS X 10.11.4, so check out MacRumors' recent coverage of each for more information.

Top Rated Comments

DCstewieG Avatar
73 months ago
Leave it to Apple -- the company that lets you to put a disk in the garbage to eject it -- to have you click the Share button so you can lock a note for private use...the exact opposite of sharing. Kinda like clicking the Start button in Windows to shutdown.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Norbs12 Avatar
73 months ago
The interface for the lock is so odd. I always thought of the button on the top right as more of a "share" button. I looked for the lock almost everywhere except there because I thought it would be a ridiculous place for it.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brunosh Avatar
73 months ago
It's not intuitive at all on iOS
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Glassed Silver Avatar
73 months ago
The interface for the lock is so odd. I always thought of the button on the top right as more of a "share" button. I looked for the lock almost everywhere except there because I thought it would be a ridiculous place for it.
Hidden features is exactly the reason why Steve Jobs opposed a menu button Android-style.

That Share button has become a complete joke, but it's only a symbol for the many other things that get hidden away, nested, convoluted, etc... All while at the same time not even increasing possibilities!

Yes, I'm looking at you, iOS 7 and up on iPad... It's basically a blown up, "less nested options" version of the iPhone interface.
Sounds like Android to me and hell, even there things have changed for the better.

Glassed Silver:mac
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
profets Avatar
73 months ago
Absolutely unintuitive. No casual user will even think about digging through settings for a new feature like that.

And then to lock a note.. And then it stays unlocked until you lock it again. Touch ID is fast enough that it should always be locked.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
D3lta Avatar
73 months ago
I wish the Notes app would automatically lock the notes as soon as you close the app, similar to how Credit Karma requires your Touch ID every time you close the app. Right now they seem to only lock automatically if you lock your phone, unless I'm missing something. If I unlock the notes and switch over to Safari, the notes remain unlocked unless I manually hit the lock button.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 11 night mode photos

Apple Reveals New Night Mode Photo Feature Exclusive to iPhone 11 Series

Tuesday September 10, 2019 12:23 pm PDT by
Apple today announced the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Max, all-new models that boast improved cameras, and specifically, a dramatic new Night Mode photo feature. Last year, Google introduced its impressive Night Sight camera mode, a software-based feature that allows users to take detailed pictures in dark environments using Google Pixel smartphones. Apple's new Night...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
homepod feature blue2

Looking to Grab a HomePod Before They're Gone? These Retailers Still Have Stock

Monday March 15, 2021 6:54 am PDT by
Apple last week discontinued the original HomePod, marking just over three years on the market for the full-size smart speaker. If you're looking to purchase the larger HomePod before it's completely gone, there are still some options online today. The biggest retailer with remaining stock on the HomePod is Apple itself, which has the White HomePod for $299.00 on its website. Space Gray is...
maxresdefault

Apple Releases Redesigned 'Apple TV Remote' App for iPhone

Monday August 1, 2016 11:59 am PDT by
Apple today released an all new Apple TV Remote app for the iPhone, which is used to control the fourth-generation Apple TV along with older Apple TV models. Announced at WWDC, the new Remote app has been available for developers since June and was released to the public this afternoon. The new Remote app, which connects to an Apple TV via Bluetooth, mimics the exact layout of the physical...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
iwork macos monterey icons

macOS 12 Monterey Beta 5 Reveals Updated iWork Icons

Thursday August 12, 2021 12:00 pm PDT by
Apple is working on updated icons for the macOS versions of its iWork apps, according to images discovered by MacRumors. The new icons are included in the framework of macOS 12 Monterey beta 5 that handles the display of collaboration links in apps such as iMessage. Pages, Numbers, and Keynote icons found in macOS Monterey The images of the new macOS iWork icons for Pages, Numbers, and...
corellium

Apple and Corellium Agree on Settlement to Bring Lawsuit to an End

Tuesday August 10, 2021 11:36 pm PDT by
Apple this week dropped its long-standing lawsuit against Corellium, the security research company that provides security researchers with a replica of the iOS operating system, allowing them to locate possible security exploits within Apple's mobile operating system, The Washington Post reports. Apple filed a lawsuit against Corellium in 2019, claiming the security company was infringing...